The Senate considered competing proposals to end the government shutdown Tuesday while federal workers continued to scramble for basic necessities like food.
Senators will vote on both proposals on Thursday.
A Republican plan would give $5.7 billion for wall funding and other border security in exchange for a three year protection of 800,000 immigrants in the country illegally— many brought here is children.
The plan from Democrats would open the government until Feb. 8. It would presumably allow President Donald Trump to give a State of the Union address on Jan. 29, and provide for disaster response funding.
However, neither proposal is expected to get 60 votes— meaning both will likely fail.
That is bad news for furloughed federal worker Charmaine Malequi. She was among those enjoying dinner inside St. Luke’s Church in Montclair, New Jersey.
“I think it’s great to see the community come together to do something like this for the workers that are furloughed,” Malequi said.
She and her husband have been avoiding nights out and saving since the shutdown began.
Many of the federal workers getting a free meal at the church brought their children, which is why the most important part of the evening might have gone beyond the catered meal. People donated groceries, toiletries and even pet food for federal workers to take home.
Carsen Mata, a furloughed Environmental Protection Agency worker herself, organized the event. Mata said friends and family are helping her during this tough time, but she knows not everyone is lucky. She hopes lawmakers will see events like the one she organized and maybe thing twice about their votes Thursday.
“I am so beyond the politics on this,” Mata said. “This is about innocent people caught in the middle, about hundreds and thousands of good people who are being held hostage because of the situation. It’s just really unfair and disheartening.”